Department of Justice Focuses on Protecting
November is a month when many Justice Department
employees look forward to spending time with family and
friends. But the upcoming holiday season can also be a
trying time for families worried about parents, grandparents
and friends who are growing older.
We all want to do the best we can to ensure that no one
takes advantage of, neglects, or harms these individuals.
But the elderly population of this country is growing. Due
in part to aging baby boomers and advanced medical techniques
that lengthen lifespans, about 34 million of this
country’s citizens are currently over 65. That number is
expected to more than double in the next 30 years. It is difficult
to overestimate the impact of this growth both on the
nation and on each of us as we care for older family members
and prepare for our own futures.
The Justice Department has an important role in assuring
that our justice system is responsive to the needs of this
growing population of older Americans. Our “Elder
Justice” effort must apply a multi-disciplinary approach that
will prevent elder abuse and neglect, encourage trained professionals
to intervene at the first sign of a problem, and,
where appropriate, prosecute wrongdoers aggressively, fairly,
and with sensitivity to the most appropriate remedy.
The evolving role of the Department in Elder Justice
began with efforts to protect older Americans from street
crime, and it has continued with efforts to fight health care
fraud, consumer fraud and civil rights violations. More
recently, our Elder Justice efforts have focused on elder
abuse and neglect prevention and prosecution, spanning the
continuum of care – from homes to nursing homes.
Recent studies have found that despite some improvements,
seriously inadequate care persists at far too many of
our nursing homes, causing untold suffering, illness and
sometimes death for our frailest older citizens. As you
may know, the Justice Department launched its Nursing
Home Initiative in October 1998. Since its inception, the
Initiative has developed an ambitious plan to help protect
vulnerable nursing home residents. This plan includes
stepping up enforcement efforts, and seeking remedies that
protect residents, recoup fraudulently obtained funds, and
punish and deter wrongdoing. For example, we are bringing
more civil False Claims Act prosecutions for failure of
basic care that leads to profound malnutrition and other
harm to nursing home residents.
We also have trained more than 1,000 federal, state and
local regulators, investigators, prosecutors, patient advocates,
and healthcare and emergency responders. In addition,
we are working to develop an infrastructure – through
State Working Groups – for coordination and continued
focus of those multi-disciplinary efforts at the federal, state
and local levels. Last month, we hosted a roundtable discussion
with healthcare, social service, public safety, and
law enforcement professionals to discuss the medical forensic
aspects of elder abuse and neglect. And at the end of
October, in partnership with HHS, we sponsored a symposium
that showcased state and local programs that use
These programs address issues such as consumer fraud,
abuse and neglect in the home, and institutional abuse and
neglect. We want to bridge the historical gap between those
on the front lines – who see the problems first hand – and
those charged with enforcing the law.
It has been said that a society’s humanity is measured
by how it treats its most vulnerable members. Though
much has been accomplished in our efforts to protect the
elderly, we have a long way to go. I commit to you that I
will continue to work on this important issue. Together, we
can work to protect older Americans from abuse and
neglect, and to improve the quality of life for all our friends
and family as they grow into retirement and beyond. I know
that together we can make a difference.
VOLUNTARY LEAVE BANK PROGRAM
Do you have annual leave that you will not be using this
year? If so, there are many people who can use it. And you
can help by donating your excess hours.
Just last year, Justice Department employees donated
more than 45,000 hours of leave. Those hours helped more
than 220 individuals take off from work to address personal
or family member health concerns.
It’s all part of the Justice Department’s Voluntary Leave
Bank Program, which is currently having a membership
drive for leave year 2001. Any employee may join the
Leave Bank during this open enrollment period, which runs
until December 16, 2000. The minimum membership contribution
required, (8, 12, or 16 hours), has been increased to
two pay periods accrual of annual leave.
Some employees donate their hours in excess of the minimum
amount one must turn over to become a member.
Some contribute without joining themselves. And some
donate those hours which would otherwise be subject to forfeiture.
For more information, please contact your Leave Sharing
Coordinator or local Personnel office.
1301 NEW YORK BUILDING DEDICATED TO
CRIMINAL DIVISION OFFICIAL
He’s had a distinguished career spanning nearly five
decades, and now he’s got a building dedicated to him.
He’s John C. Keeney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General
for the Criminal Division. Mr. Keeney began his distinguished
career at the Justice Department in March of 1951
with the Criminal Division.
At the official dedication of the building, located at 1301
New York Avenue, N.W., Attorney General Reno said that
Keeney, “distinguished himself through his dedication, the
uncompromising excellence of his work, and his unwavering
sense of ethical responsibility.”
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder added, “he is one
of the most respected officials in the federal law enforcement
community and he has made an enduring imprint on
that community, and on the federal civil service itself.”
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
This year, October has once again been proclaimed
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Justice
Department remains committed to raising awareness of the
devastating effects of domestic violence. Domestic violence
affects the workplace by leading to decreased productivity,
absenteeism, increased medical costs, and an overall
increased risk of violence at the workplace.
In a national survey, many victims of domestic violence
reported that the violence had a direct impact on their jobs,
causing them to arrive late (40%), miss work (34%), have difficulty
advancing their careers (23%), and have difficulty
keeping a job (20%).
Each of us can do something in our workplace
and in our community to change attitudes and to support those who are being
abused. If you are aware of coworkers who need help, talk to them and direct
them to appropriate resources. These include the National Domestic Violence
Hotline 1-800-799- SAFE (voice) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) and the U.S.
Office of Personnel Management guidebook “Responding to Domestic Violence:
Where Federal Employees Can Find Help” at www.opm.gov/workplac/html/domestic.htm.
DOJ employees also can call the Employee Assistance Program at 800-626-0385.
DOJ UNVEILS STRATEGIC PLAN,
Have you ever drawn up a list of goals for yourself and
promised to meet them over a certain period? On a larger
scale, that’s just what the Department has done with its
Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2000 to 2005.
IDENTIFIES KEY GOALS
Issued at the end of September, the Strategic Plan lays out
seven important goals that the Department aims to achieve
during the coming years. In meeting these goals, the plan
emphasizes building partnerships, strengthening communities,
and taking a down-to-earth approach to solving problems.
Among the Department’s goals are preventing and reducing
crime and violence by assisting state, tribal, local and community-
“The Strategic Plan builds on the many accomplishments
we have achieved together so far,” said Attorney General
Reno. “It also acknowledges that we have much to do, and
new challenges to confront. I know that Department employees
will continue the tradition of excellent service and, working
together, will help make these important goals a reality.”
The plan is available on the DOJ website at www.usdoj.gov/
jmd/mps/strategic2000_2005/. A summary of the plan is also available
in hard copy by e-mailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JUSTICE OFFICIAL HONORED
He fights for those who have suffered in the past. He has
dedicated his life to insuring that Nazi war criminals hiding in
America will be brought to justice. Eli Rosenbaum, Chief of
the Office of Special Investigations, was honored on October
17, 2000 at the 2000 ADL “Heroes in Blue: A Concert to
Honor.” The event, held at the Kennedy Center, honored
members of the law enforcement community who protect
Americans from crimes motivated by hatred and extremism.
BY THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE